Sunday, December 3, 2017

Book Review: Awaken (Awaken, Book 1), by Katie Kacvinsky

Awaken (Awaken, book 1)
By: Katie Kacvinsky
ISBN-10: 0547721986
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Maddie lives in a digitally-saturated world, where children do their school on computers, people chat and go on dates online, and hardly anyone ventures out of doors. Maddie has always felt that something was wrong with this lifestyle, and when she meets Justin, who has an even stronger opinion about electronics than she does, he’s about to change her view of the real world for the better.

It includes:

• Kissing, making out, and some sensual touches
• Profanity (sh*t, d*mn, and h*ll)
• Violence (some injuries and shooting)

This is an intriguing young adult dystopian novel that tackles the idea of a near future filled with electronics. The tone is fairly light throughout.

Readers who enjoyed Awaken might also like The Declaration by Gemma Malley and:

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Review: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, by John Boyne

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
By: John Boyne
ISBN-10: 0385751060
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Bruno is upset when his family moves from their cozy house in Berlin to the country for his father’s work as a soldier. But things start looking up when Bruno spies a farm near his new house, and meets a boy wearing striped pajamas on the other side of the fence who becomes his new playmate.

This book contains:

• Reference to adults using bad words
• Violence (deaths, starving people, beating a man, Jews in a concentration camp, and the smell of burning bodies)
• Emotionally disturbing scenes

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas paints a subtly simple, vidid picture of the horrible acts of brutality of WWII. The message, characters, and story about the Holocaust are all extraordinarily powerful.

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Saturday, November 4, 2017

Book Review: Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin, by Liesl Shurtliff

Rump: The True Story of Rupelstiltskin
By: Liesl Shurtliff
ISBN-10: 0307977935
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Rump is used to being made fun of because his name is, well, Rump. But his simple lifestyle suddenly gets complicated when he comes across a magical spinning wheel and finds out he has a knack for weaving. But what Rump doesn’t know is that the spinning wheel is cursed, and now he will have to go on a dangerous journey to break the spell cast upon him.

This is a middle grade book and contains:

• Some bullying
• Violence (hitting, pixies bite people, trolls talk about eating people, a nosebleed, bloody fingers, and one character dies)

Rump: The True Story of Rupelstiltskin is a humorous and cleverly-written novel for younger readers. There are lots of new twists added to the original Rumpelstiltskin tale, and the author includes cameo appearances from other fairytales as well.

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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief
By: Markus Zusak
ISBN-10: 0375831002
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In 1939, Liesel is sent to live in safety with Hans and Rosa Hubermann, who are secretly Jewish sympathizers. Hans begins to teach Liesel to read, and as Liesel falls in love with books, she realizes that words have the power to help her make it through each day in the ruthless time of war.

It includes:

• Profanity (religious names are abused, and godd*mn, sh*t, and h*ll are used frequently)
• Violence (death and beatings)
• Reference to a boy’s genitals
• A kiss
• Smoking and drinking

The Book Thief has a very heavy WWII theme and lots of language (both in English and German). Although the chapters are short, the book tends to drag a bit, but Markus Zusak’s beautiful writing, memorable characters, and emotional scenes make up for the boring parts.

Readers who enjoyed The Book Thief might also like:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: Staked (Iron Druid Chronicles, book 8), By Kevin Hearne

Staked (Iron Druid Chronicles, book 8)

With the vampire threat hurting people he cares about, Atticus sets out to eliminate it, but when you're outnumbered by the thousands that's easier said than done.

Unlike the prior seven Iron Druid books, Staked is a sad and depressing story despite the various humor throughout. It's told from three points of view(POV) with Owen and Granuwaile off on their own quests/adventures. Atticus and Granuwaile's POV are so similar in tone that it is possible to loose track of who's head you are in. Additionally there are times when Granuwaile's perspective seems unauthentic as a female (admittedly, this is a matter of perspective).  Staked doesn't function well as a stand alone and I encourage readers interested in the Iron Druid Chronicles to start at the beginning of the series.

Staked is an adult urban fantasy and includes:
  • Profanity: F word, D*mn, Sh*t
  • Destruction of public property & Stealing
  • Branding
  • References to arses, hides, bollocks, male private parts
  • Some suggestive remarks
  • Implied sex (no detail) and references to persons having recently had sex (rumpled appearance referenced, but very little else)
  • A dismembered person
  • A god explodes (references to exploded Icor/body messy and gross)
  • Lots of bodies come apart in gross ways (mostly references to blood and goo)
  • Injuring of an unequal opponent as an outlet for anger

The Iron Druid Chronicles

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Book Review: The Heir (The Selection, Book 4), by Kiera Cass

The Heir (The Selection, book 4)
By: Kiera Cass
ISBN-10: 0062349856
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Princess Eadlyn has everything she could ever want: she lives in a lavish palace and has an abundance of beautiful gowns. But when her father and mother, King Maxon and Queen America, suggest that she hold a Selection to keep a war from breaking out, Eadlyn is in distress. As the future ruler of IllĂ©a, she already has so many duties to perform each day, and doesn’t want to be distracted by a hoard of thirty-five young men around who all want to marry her.

It contains:

• Kissing and making out
• A man won’t stop staring at a girl’s breasts
• Minor profanity (h*ll, d*mn, *ss)
• Implied attempted rape (a man makes remarks about a woman and tries to touch her)
• Some fights that result in injuries
• Drinking wine at dinner

The Heir is a quick read and follows America Singer’s daughter. Eadlyn has a very different tone than America, and some readers may find that either refreshing or annoying.

More Selection reviews:
• Book 1: The Selection
• Book 2: The Elite
Book 3: The One

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Book Review: The One (The Selection, Book 3), by Kiera Cass

The One (The Selection, book 3)
By: Kiera Cass
ISBN-10: 0062059998
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Just as America makes up her mind about the man she loves, their relationship spirals out of control until America wonders if they can ever be the simple married couple that she longs for them to be.

It includes:

• Kissing, caresses, and a couple heavy make out scenes
• America dresses in a revealing gown in an attempt to seduce Maxon
• Minor profanity (h*ll, d*mn, *ss)
• Violence (deaths, injuries, rebels raid the palace)

The One ends America Singer’s story as the complicated Selection comes to a close and Prince Maxon finally chooses his queen. Fans of the previous novels and the characters should not be disappointed with this book, and the ending has a nice conclusion.

More Selection reviews:
Book 1: The Selection
Book 2: The Elite

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Book Review: Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, book 6), by Darynda Jones

Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson, book 6)
By: Darynda Jones
ISBN: 1250045630
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Between stolen souls, supernatural foes, cold cases, and crime lords, Charley has way too much on her plate. On top of which someone is setting her up. The big question is who and for what?

Sixth Grave on the Edge has so many plots intermixed that it can get a little hard to remember them all but it never gets boring or slow. Unlike some of the earlier books where significant time was spent on each case, Charley's efforts are now so divided that investigation for each of the many cases/mysteries is limited. The over-riding personal mystery is also starting to play a much bigger part, which leads to a big last minute reveal. Fans will want to have book seven, Seventh Grave and No Body, within easy reach.

The Charley Davidson series is an adult urban fantasy with strong paranormal romance elements. Sixth Grave on the Edge includes:
  • Profanity (F word, B*tch, B*llsh*t, etc)
  • Throwing Up
  • Abuse of children by parents
  • Specific references to male private parts, Viagra, etc
  • Detailed Sex scene(s) - this includes psychic sex and sex in a public location (sucking,  orgasms, erections, oral sex, full nudity, etc)
  • Injuries (broken bones)
  • Death and a Dead body
  • Naked Ghost 
  • References to a married homosexual couple
This story also deals with/mentions angels, demons, souls being eaten and the damning of souls.

While the Charley Davidson series does deal with some biblical concepts (Heaven, Hell, God, Satan, Angels, Demons, etc) is is not and does not claim to be a Christian tale. Christian readers will find many concepts and elaborations that are different from biblical teaching.

Note: The print version of this book includes an extra chapter at the end from Reyes' point of view.

More Charley Davidson Books:
  • Book 1: First Grave on the Right (Review)
  • Novella 1.5: For I Have Sinned
  • Book 2: Second Grave on the Left (Review)
  • Book 3: Third Grave Dead Ahead (Review)
  • Book 4: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Review)
  • Book 5: Fifth Grave Past the Light (Review)
  • Book 6: Sixth Grave on the Edge (Review)
  • Book 7: Seventh Grave and No Body
  • Book 8: Eighth Grave After Dark (Review)
  • Book 8.5: Brighter Than the Sun (Review)
  • Book 9: The Dirt on Ninth Grave
  • Book 10: The Curse of Tenth Grave (expected publication 2016)
  • Book 11: Untitled (expected publication 2017)

If you enjoyed Sixth Grave on the Edge you may also like:
Moon Called (Mercedes Thompson, #1)
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Book Review: P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Book 2), by Jenny Han

P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, book 2)
By: Jenny Han
ISBN-10: 144242673X
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Lara Jean is happy that she and Peter are finally dating—for real this time, no more of this fake, pretending business. But just as she’s settling into the blissful routine of being in a relationship for the first time, things get complicated: Peter can’t leave his ex-girlfriend, Genevieve, behind, and a boy from Lara Jean’s past suddenly reappears in her life.

This is a young adult book and contains the following:

• Profanity (F-word, sh*t, d*ck, b*tch, and h*ll)
• References to sex and a few discussions about sex (first time sex, one character used to have sex all the time with his girlfriend, using condoms, only do it for the first time when you’re ready, the suggestion that an elderly women has lots of sex, and not wanting to have sex with a boyfriend)
• A video of a couple making out in a hot tub is posted on the internet and it looks like they’re having sex
• Kissing and making out (hand under shirt)
• References to masturbation, watching porn, girls’ breast sizes, mention that an older boy said he made a girl orgasm just by kissing her, and an innuendo that men always think with their private part
• References to a minor character being gay
• One character’s father is seen kissing a much younger girl, and it is mentioned that he has cheated on his wife multiple times
• Brief mention of a girl’s period coming soon
• Lying
• Alcohol is served at parties, and two adults are hungover on New Year’s Day

P.S. I Still Love You is a page-turning, fluffy contemporary read. The romance in this sequel is just as complicated as the first book, as it contains a new love triangle.

More To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before reviews:
Book 1: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Book Review: Under a Painted Sky, by Stacey Lee

Under a Painted Sky
By: Stacey Lee
ISBN-10: 0399168036
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Samantha and Annamae are both running from the law: Samantha because she killed a man, and Annamae because she’s a runaway slave. The girls decide the best thing to do is stick together until they can make it to California, where they’ll be free, and to make their Chinese and African identities less conspicuous, they disguise themselves as boys.

It includes:

• Minor profanity (d*mn, h*ll, nuts, wh*re, and racial insults)
• Attempted rape
• Violence (a couple murders, shooting, injuries, and violent deaths)
• Kissing
• Coming upon two people making out heavily
• Vague references to past sexual activity
• Nudity (three cowboys strip down and sing “Yankee Doodle;” the scene is meant to be humorous)
• People drink wine; one of the main characters also gets drunk after drinking hard cider

Under a Painted Sky wonderfully portrays humor, adventure, and the unfair treatment toward people of color in the 1800’s.

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